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New Study Confirms Noise Nuisance Claims

Press release

New Study Confirms Airport Neighbours’ Claims

2 November 2007 – for immediate release

The AEF (1) today welcomed the publication of the first Government-commissioned study into the relationship between aircraft noise and annoyance (2) in the UK for 22 years. The results make a compelling case for updating and supplementing the way the Government currently takes account of aircraft noise issues.

The findings confirm that a greater percentage of people are highly annoyed by aircraft noise at any given level when compared to the previous study undertaken in 1982 (and published in 1985)(3). Where as the Department for Transport currently takes noise into account above 57 Leq dBA, this threshold would fall to 50 dBA Leq based on an equivalent percentage of the population being highly annoyed today. This represents an increase of hundreds of thousands of people exposed around the UK’s airports.

Other findings in the study confirm many longstanding community concerns, namely:
– that annoyance is strongly influenced by the number of noise events
– that aircraft noise at night is more annoying 

Based on this evidence, the AEF believes that Government should include noise levels below 57 Leq in all policy decisions, and develop supplementary indices that reflect the number of noise events (such as the N70 index used in Australia).    

Notes for editors:

(1) The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) is an environmental association whose membership comprises community and environmental associations around the UK’s airfields and airports. More info at www.aef.org.uk

(2) “Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England” (ANASE), by MVA Consultancy in association with Ian Flindell, John Bates Services and RPS, November 2007

(3) In the 1982 study, 39% of respondents were annoyed at 57 Leq. This has increased to 53% today.